The Tenways CGO600 is a sporty and fast way of getting around on two wheels, with some subtle but very useful electric assist
- Lightweight bike
- Low maintenance belt drive
- Sporty, fast torque-sensing ride
- Single speed
- Battery not removable for charging
You might have dismissed e-bikes with a single gear, like the Tenways CGO600, thinking they lack hill-climbing power. However, motor power now means your average rider can now get the single-speed benefits of low maintenance and an easy riding experience without struggling for pedal power, even uphill.
Tenways CGO600 review: What do you get for the money?
Tenways uses a small motor in the rear hub with the battery totally enclosed within the bike frame i.e. it’s not removable for charging. On the plus side, you get a bike that is very hard to recognise as an electric bike; on the other hand, this approach means swapping the battery out for another mid-ride for extra range is not possible.
At 16.11kg it’s light by e-bike standards. It has a sleek-looking frame with lovely smooth welds that are barely visible and that rear motor looks more like hub gears than a regular e-bike power unit. It’s a stealth e-bike with its power assist credentials nicely disguised.
The 250Wh battery capacity is undeniably small. Twice this size is a more standard offering on bigger, heavier e-bikes. But there are several advantages to this downsizing approach. Firstly it means the bike is nice and light if you want to carry it. The lightness also translates into a lovely fast ride. However, you can’t get away from the fact that, for very long rides, a recharge will be needed mid-ride.
The rest of the components are of good quality, from the hydraulic disk brakes and powerful front hardwired LED light to the alloy wheel rims with reinforced spoke eyelets and the fast-rolling tyres complete with puncture protection. These are all quality touches you wouldn’t get on many sub-£1,400 e-bikes and show Tenways has spent time thinking about the quality of the ride as well as keeping an eye on the price.
The bike also comes with a rear LED but this is not powered by the main battery. If you want ‘extras’ in the form of mudguards, kickstand and pannier rack, Tenways offer them as accessories on their website and, although I haven’t tried them, they look very overpriced. You can pick up similar products online for around half the price.
The frame has conventional attachment points for all of these and I really liked the option of being able to get ‘old school’ budget rack, guards and kickstand added easily and cheaply. Some e-bike brands have their own proprietary designs when it comes to such ‘extras’ so it is nice to see Tenways giving you more, rather than less choice in this area.
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Tenways CGO600 review: What’s it like to ride?
The Tenways uses a torque sensor to activate the motor. In practical terms that just means the motor power kicks in in response to pedal pressure, unlike the other main system you find on e-bikes – cadence sensing – which only needs the pedals to be turning to activate power. There is no throttle on the bike, either, although that isn’t a big deal as only a relatively small number of European spec e-bikes have throttles.
As someone who loves riding electric and non-electric bikes I found the Tenway’s torque-sensing system a joy to use. You can select one of three power levels on the smart little LED handlebar display, and within each level, you can vary how much power is delivered by how hard you press the pedals.
The riding position itself is quite sporty and less upright than many urban commuting bikes and I found the bike also benefited from a sporty style of riding. For moderate hills, I was standing out of the saddle in level one to get the most out of the motor, with the benefit that I wasn’t wasting precious battery reserves. I kept levels two and three in reserve for steeper hills or when I was fatigued at the end of a long ride. It’s also a nice bike to ride on the flat with no power.
This simple and intuitive system returned a good mileage range of 32 miles of stop-start riding over moderately rolling terrain, mainly in level one. On a much hillier 16-mile ride with plenty of 5-10% gradients and a 15kg load, using levels two and three more regularly, I saw battery capacity drop more quickly. Based on this ride 20 miles would be a more realistic total range.
Tenways CGO600 review: Is there anything it could do better?
The non-detachable battery is the obvious criticism. For those who store their e-bike securely and near a charge point it’s probably not a negative, especially as the bike is so light and easy even to carry upstairs if needed. However, if you have limited space indoors and can’t store in a heated space then you risk exposing the battery to less than ideal cold winter conditions for long periods.
Even if you are a reasonably sporty rider who doesn’t mind a moderate workout, there is a limit to what most single-speed e-bikes will accomplish and the Tenways is no exception. I wouldn’t recommend it for those who regularly have to tackle hills steeper than 10%, especially if you prefer a sedate riding style or want to carry heavier loads. Here, a beefier motor system would be preferable.
I was delighted that the display showed a battery capacity reading in % terms, figuring this would give me a really accurate reading. In practice, this tended to drop rather sharply when the battery was under load and recovered if you used little or no motor power, so it was never really possible to tell precisely how much battery capacity you had left. However, given the excellent value in the rest of the bike, and the fact that this relatively common among e-bikes, I’m willing to forgive this particular weakness.
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Tenways CGO600 review: Should you buy one?
Whilst the Pure Flux One shares many of the same attributes as the Tenways, came out well in our review and is around 25% cheaper, the Tenways power delivery system is decidedly more sophisticated. If you enjoy riding sporty bikes and want e-biking in its simplest form then I would highly recommend the Tenways CGO600.
You have to accept that you are buying direct from the manufacturers who do not have a UK dealer network for after-sales queries, and I felt info on Tenways website about exactly what you do if a problem arises was a bit scanty, with no direct telephone contact and a live chat link that appeared not to be ‘live’.
However, there aren’t many high performance torque-sensing lightweight e-bikes at this price, so Tenways has pretty much carved its own niche here and if you accept the above caveats and fit the rider profile I’ve outlined, then it’s a true bargain.